Tents for families are more like luxury tents nowadays due to the vast array of features they possess, but this also presents a problem. How do you decide which one to use? The answer depends on several factors including the number of kids you have, their ages and the kind of camping you want to do. The following guide will help you make that decision.
How Big Must the Tent Be?
Read family tent reviews online and you will realize that the sizes of these tents have increased significantly over the years, and that’s great if you’ve got a large family and like to camp with lots of gear in tow. The downside to a large tent of course is they’re heavy, so ask these questions:
Is there enough space in your car for the tent size you want?
Can you handle the heavy weight?
The larger the tent, the more time it might need to set up, and if that’s the case, is there someone who will supervise your kids while you’re putting up the tent?
A big tent is nice but don’t go big just for the sake of going big because you might end up being forced to buy and carry a lot of useless extras jut to fill up the empty space. Also keep in mind that some campsites have size restrictions so before you buy, check the regulations in the campsite you plan to go to and make sure the tent is permitted.
One way to deal with this situation is to buy two tents, with the large family tents for those occasions when your family goes on a one or two week camping trip, and a smaller tent for weekend camping.
Tent Layouts for Young Kids
Some family tents for sale have two bedrooms separated by a divider, and that layout is good enough if you’re camping with young kids. Aside from privacy, keeping the kids in a separate room is going to make it easier to put them to sleep without being distracted by the adults. If there is a divider make certain you can quickly zip it down and get to the children.
Tent Layouts for Older Children or Teens
A four person tent is suitable for a family of four if the kids are young, but as they get older or you have three or more children, a bigger tent will be required. In these cases a three bedroom tent is more suited. This is especially true if you have teenage boys or girls as they will need more privacy. If this is the case then you will need a six person tent minimum with complete privacy and separate bedrooms, though the good news is there are a lot of those available right now.
Storage and Living Space
The dimensions given for family size tents refer only to the ground area you will be sleeping on and doesn’t take into account the living and storage requirements. But camping is more than just about sleeping as you’ll be putting a lot of stuff there. Before you buy, try to visualize where everyone’s stuff will go. If you’re camping with kids make sure there’s enough room for them to play in case it rains.
If space is your primary concern, look for large tents that have a porch where you can put chairs and a table. This will give you a place to eat and keep the tent from getting dirty, and the porches on larger tents have space for camp bed.
The Windows Matter
Windows on a big family tent are important because these are what will ensure the tent receives sufficient light and ventilation when it’s hot. Window layouts vary among tents, but the good ones have them installed at the front and side so it is airy inside. However you need to make certain the windows where you change your clothes can be closed quickly, and some even have tinted windows for increased privacy. It might also help to get a tent that has the sleeping areas darkened so the early morning light of the summer doesn’t wake you too early.
A lager entrance is nice during the summer and when the weather is fair, but what if it starts to rain? That used to be a problem with large tents, but now it’s less of an issue as specially designed rain shelters, storm entrances and gullies are available that divert rain away. To avoid this problem make sure the tent has a rainfly or other means of protection so you don’t get wet inside.
Other Features to Look For
A tent will look and function better with a few more additions:
Lantern hooks to light up the inside at night.
Storage pockets will come in handy especially in the bedroom and other areas of the tent.
Electric cord entry: some family tents have this feature built in, and they have special precautions so they don’t get wet.
Mud valance: a mud valance is a type of skirt that is located at the tent’s bottom and used to divert rain away in case of a downpour.
Guy line tidies: these can make things easier when it comes to taking down the tent and putting it back up.
An entrance that’s been designed in such a way that tripping over it won’t occur.
A well-designed tent for family use must be easy to pitch.
With regards to materials most of these tents are made from polyester or other high quality waterproof materials. Some of the more expensive models are made from a combination of polyester and cotton or some other material, and it would be worth your while to check them out and learn more.
Buying a family or luxury camping tent can be as simple as point and click, but to get maximum value and enjoyment, it’s important that you go over several features and consider the factors mentioned above. Doing so is going to take some time but you’ll be happy you did.